AT&T buying Alltel for $780 million, getting more coverage in six states
posted by Victor H. / Jan 22, 2013, 9:34 AM
AT&T, the nation’s second largest carrier, has just announced that it will acquire Atlantic Tele-Network’s wireless service known under the Alltel brand for $780 millions delivered in the form of good old hard cash.
This will buy AT&T licenses, network assets, retail stores and some 585,000 subscribers.
Alltel’s network covers nearly 4.6 million people in rural areas throughout the states of Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. This expanded coverage will obviously be of biggest benefit to AT&T.
Not least, AT&T will get a hold on spectrum in the 700MHz, 850MHz and 1,900MHz bands. All those are frequencies that should easily be integrated in AT&T’s existing network.
If the FCC and the Departmen of Justice greenlight the deal, it should close sometime in the second half of 2013.
Verizon bought Alltel and Unicel around the same time a few years back and was ordered on completion to divest some markets by the FCC so it would not be considered a monopoly. AT&T got some of it earlier, AtlanticTel got most of the rest of Alltel, and a small few markets went independent.
AT&T seems to want all the rest of it now.
alltel was bought out by Verizon a few years ago. When that happened they were only able to buy something like 90% of the company and its assets... That way Verizon didnt have a monopoly in some markets. This is what is left of alltel that att is snatching up.
What I recall is then #2 Verizon announced a deal to buy then #7 Alltel. But the deal ran into some competitive issues with the regulators in some markets, so VZW was permitted to buy *most* of Alltel (I'm remembering 59%, but don't quote me). Verizon was required to sell some assets (which AT&T took advantage of last year). Eventually, Verizon's Alltel's customers that hadn't been converted already were folded into the Verizon brand 12-18 months ago.
What remained of Alltel continued to operate independently (as far as I know) until Atlantic Tele-network bought them 2-3 years ago. Now AT&T wants them.
OK, but Alltel is CDMA, and AT&T is GSM. So how is this going to work? We wound up on Sprint because Verizon didn't work at our high school while our daughter was there. Alltel worked as well, but AT&T was totally dead. This is going to thrill a lot of Alltel customers (please note - sarcasm).
Yeah, that along with the VZW deal, none of this makes sense. To run GSM off those towers I'm sure would require a complete upgrade to them. Then the remaining alltel customers would lose their roaming deals because VZW doesn't, can't, have a roaming deal with ATT since ATT is all GSM. I really wish the article would explain more about this.
If I remember correctly Alltel actually had both GSM and CDMA, the majority of it's network was CDMA but they did have some GSM, in other words - Alltel was a mess. Also, the spectrum is what really matters, converting equipment is done pretty regular anyways as technology changes.
Same way MetroPCS will merge into T-Mobile, I assume. They're almost the same deal. Major GSM carrier buying a CDMA carrier with compatible spectrum.
After the deal is approved, new phones will be launched which are AT&T compatible. In existing AT&T markets, they'll add GSM spectrum to towers as time goes on. The new coverage areas will get upgraded AT&T towers, with CDMA spectrum being gradually moved over as Alltel customers upgrade phones.
Maybe, one can hope anyway, these carriers buying other carriers will lead to an era of unlocked, unbranded phones. Ones that can run GSM, CDMA, LTE, Evdo, HSPDA and +, etc. That way we can buy our phone off contract and then pick the carrier we want. Doubt it though.
so as some one else stated verizon had purchased alltel but due to monopoly rights had to sell some off to other companies and some of the other companies choose to keep the alltel name due to it being more well known. now it those other companies that att wants. all of south dakota and most and majority of north dakota were sold to att and the conversion was a pain in the ... but it happened and it will probably be smoother the second time around. so yes there are some companies around that just took the alltel name.
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